PS4

Review: Blood and Truth – PS4/PSVR

When I finished the story campaign of London Studio’s superb Blood and Truth, I skipped the credits and took off the headset, exhilarated and satisfied. A few hours later, however, I couldn’t resist starting over to experience the story of Ryan Marks all over again. After you complete the campaign, you can pick and choose any one of the 19 missions to replay. That’s an awesome way to relive the excitement of your favorite action scenes or pick up any of the many collectibles scattered about London that you may have missed. But sadly, once you complete the campaign, you can’t replay the full story uninterrupted. We’ve heard that London Studio’s is adding some free DLC, including a Game + mode which will allow you to replay the game with all of your unlocks from your previous playthrough, but as of now, it’s not available. But I was desperate, so I replayed the last level, wondering stupidly if I let the credits roll to the end that maybe it would start over from the beginning. My let-the-credits-roll idea didn’t work, of course, but it was a good reminder of just how big, or should I say, massive of an endeavor it was bringing Blood and Truth into existence. I swear the credits rolled for a half hour. That’s a ton of names, folks, but it shows how many people it takes to create a game with this much polish. There are a plethora of great indie games for the PSVR. But Blood and Truth is a big budget, high-profile, system seller and an impressive showcase for what a big experienced studio can do in the virtual space. In short, it is an audio-visual joyride like I have never experienced before.

You play as Ryan Marks, an elite SAS operative with some shady family business on the side. There are a couple of military style missions at the beginning, but this is a story about two powerful families at war with London as a backdrop. The story deals heavily in mob movie tropes, but it’s all elevated by really good dialogue and excellent voice acting. I found the exchanges between Ryan and his brother to be particularly great. Their banter – almost talking over each other at times – and their laughter felt extremely true to life. This, combined with the best facial animations in PSVR history really drew me into the story, despite it being fairly basic.

They recommend you sit for this game, but I played it both ways, sometimes interchanging on the fly. I play on a tall, swiveling bar stool, so my sitting and standing height is only a few inches different. But fear not, it’s fun both ways, so use whichever feels right for you. You can play with a DualShock 4, but it isn’t nearly as good as using the Move controllers. If you’ve played any VR game before, I shouldn’t have to explain why this is true. You are about to become the hero of an epic 5-hour action movie, and when it comes to action heroes, the best ones have two hands, so put down that Dualshock and pick up those Moves.

The Move controllers don’t have analog sticks, of course, so instead of using a teleport (bad) or a point-to-move (much better but far from perfect) locomotion system, Blood and Truth uses a Node-based movement system. As you’re playing, you’ll see numerous markers placed about, usually behind some type of cover. You simply pick the one you want by looking at it, press the Move button, and off you go. If you’re thinking Bravo Team 2.0, then stop. Granted, it is a similar style, and it’s the reason my expectations for Blood and Truth were not very high. While I admit, this isn’t a movement style I want developers to use much moving forward, it works absolutely brilliantly in this game. The system eventually felt very intuitive for me. After sticking my head out and choosing where to run, I made the decision and started running, guns blazing and head on a swivel. Just because I wasn’t holding an analog stick at a slight angle for 2.8 seconds didn’t make it any less fun or realistic. They could have used a full locomotion system in this game and I would have loved it, but it would have been different, and if you haven’t already guessed, I love this game just the way it is. There are actually some full locomotion sequences, but they only happen with your hands. Crawling through vent shafts, climbing up ladders, scaffolding, or up broken pieces of rebar, are all done manually with your hands. That may seem silly, I’m sure it looks silly for those watching us play, but it adds to the realism and immersion of the scene.

Speaking of crawling through vent shafts, the action set pieces are incredible. It’s like all of the iconic blockbuster stunts of the last ten years in film and videogame cutscenes brought to life and playable in VR. The game will go completely on rails at times, pulling you through a collapsing building, or through an exploding casino/nightclub, or even chasing an airplane down a runway, all the while shooting at all the bad guys. It’s these moments where I just couldn’t help pulling off a few mid-air reloads or some old west gun twirling like I was Roland of Gilead.

Those are just a few of the epic moments that Blood and Truth deliver in its four to six-hour campaign. That isn’t very long, but I’ve put nearly double that time in replaying my favorite levels to get those elusive 5-star ratings. In addition to a fairly short campaign, I also didn’t think throwing grenades was very accurate. Throwing multiple grenades in a row, making slight adjustments according to where the last one landed didn’t seem to help at all. It isn’t random exactly, but it’s not nearly as accurate as it could be. As a proud owner of the 2MD VR Football platinum trophy (NERD ALERT!), I know accurate PSVR throwing mechanics are possible. But other than that, I have nothing else to complain about. The guns feel awesome. The semi-automatic rifle sounds and feels massive, while the pump-action shotgun packs a satisfying punch. The pistols are varied and reloading them never got old. As I mentioned, the writing and voice acting are stellar and the James Bondish soundtrack is a perfect fit.

Somehow, London Studio managed to make a game that not only made a sub par movement system tolerable, but they also made it a fun and useful game mechanic. I honestly thought I was going to hate this movement, and while I highly prefer full locomotion for 99 percent of my VR action games, I’ll be ecstatic to play Blood and Truth, and hopefully its many sequels, with this system forever.

Blood and Truth is one of the most fun games I’ve played in a long time and one of, if not the best, PSVR games to date. I think everyone who owns a PSVR headset should play it. And for those PS4 owners who have been waiting for a great VR game before taking the PSVR plunge, now might be that time.

Blood and Truth PSVR Review
  • 9/10
    Overall - Must Buy - 9/10
9/10

Summary

Sony’s London Studio has created a PSVR gem that will be remembered, by at least this reviewer, as a true classic. Whether you prefer John McClane, John Wick, or Jason Bourne, Ryan Marks lets you be the hero in this epic London tale. I already want to play through it a third time and show it to all of my friends. When is Blood and Truth 2 coming out?

Pros

  • Great gunplay and tons of action
  • Excellent voice work, writing, and music
  • Exciting gameplay that begs to be played over and over

Cons

  • The campaign is so good, that the 4 to 6 hour length hurts even more
  • Throwing grenades isn’t very accurate

Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game bought at the reviewers expense. For more information, please read our Review Policy. 

Reviewed using base PS4.

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